CoffeeBeer >> Double Shot Buzz >> Previous Coffee Columns >> Caffe Limelight

Back Buzz - February 12, 1999

Caffe Limelight, 35-37 Sandgate High Street, Sandgate, Kent, UK

I wasn't expecting to find much in the way of coffeehouses down in the southeast corner of England, miles away from London and its rapidly expanding Seattle-influenced espresso scene. In Hastings in East Sussex I had a sandwich at Cafe Torino (20 George Street) and was just about to order a cappuccino when I noticed just in the nick of time the latte/black coffee/white coffee/cappuccino/chocolate/café crême automatic vending machine in the corner. That was a close call...

So I was surprised to discover Caffe Limelight in Sandgate, situated a block from the beach in an old green building once home to a savings bank. In fact the words SAVINGS BANK are still emblazoned in large letters across the front of the building.

Caffe Limelight is more a cafe than a coffeehouse, although it does offer espresso drinks and pastries along with lights lunches, wine, and beer. The tables are dressed with salmon-colored tablecloths accented with vases of fresh carnations and little numbered tiles -- the tile at our table said "8" -- and the large windows and green wooden chandeliers lend a seaside aura to the place. When my friend and I stopped in at 2:30 on a Monday afternoon we were the sole patrons; still, the staff seemed very friendly.

Since I was in the southeast of England as opposed to the heart of Seattle I decided to simplify things by ordering a mere cappuccino -- no "double, no "short", no "dry", just a cappuccino. Our two cappuccinos, which came in tall glass mugs with chocolate sprinkled on the top, were way too hot -- mouth-blistering hot, to be more precise -- but at least demitasse spoons were included, an endearing gesture indeed. After waiting twenty minutes for my poor overboiled coffee to cool off enough so as not to etch any more fiery craters into my tongue, I discovered the rather tall drink to be strong enough, surprisingly, but with little in the way of a satisfying flavor. Still, since my expectations of finding a decent espresso this far from London were quite low, it was more drinkable than I had hoped. If only the barista in her volcanic enthusiasm hadn't charred any potential flavor away, and if only there hadn't been quite so much foamy milk piled on top...

It's interesting to me that so many English people, particularly those far from London, seem to be perfectly satisfied drinking instant coffee. Why is this, especially when places like Folkestone, Dover, and Newhaven are a mere ferry ride away from France, where one can almost always get a decent coffee? (That "almost" is in reference to the horridly acrid drek I remember forcing down myself for breakfast at Hotel Albert Ier in Paris years ago...but then there are always exceptions to every rule, aren't there?) Of course, Germany directly borders France with no body of water separating the two, and what has it learned from such a close association? I'll admit I have had some good food in Germany surprisingly, but the coffee leaves a lot to be desired...

Speaking of coastal areas and Germany, following is a recent e-mail exchange with my Bay Area friend:

Applying computer translation to a German Playboy bio sheet sounds like a good recipe for some innovative innuendo . . .

****-Original Message****- Forwarded by Anne Jennings/REG/KPNC on 12/15/98

A stats sheet from German Playboy, translated via Alta Vista's Babelfish:

New edition of Playboy, May 1998. Copyright s1998 Playboy Enterprises, Inc. a part of this article may not be produced, be stored in an inquiry system, or by any form or any media -- photo-copy electronically, mechanically, through, by accommodation or other without written permission copyright of the owner to be transferred.

Hmm...some of this sounds intriguing, especially the idea of being befummelt. Can you imagine a nice romantic date, soft candlelight, champagne -- and suddenly your date wraps his/her arm around you and starts befummelting...and next thing you know, you're gelunging! Mmm, makes me HOT!

With the minimal travel German I know, I'm intrigued by the Hinterausgang. As far as I can tell this translates to the "hinter exit". Would this be an ultimate exit from the Hinterlands, wherever they are? Would this be the legendary End of the Earth, where souls like Ambrose Bierce and Amelia Earhart disappear? Will they someday find their way back via the hinter entrance, or Hintereingang, and join us once again?

What is the opposite of "hinter"? In many of our states I've heard that it is still illegal to derive pleasure via the hinterausgang, rather than the orthodox frontal ingang.

No definition for "hinter", just "hinterland". According to my dictionary it's the remote or less developed parts of a country, or the coastal area.

I've never thought of my derriere as being my coastal area -- although I suppose I've coasted on it once or twice, especially that time I went ice-skating. It's hard for me to think of the buttock region as being less developed, however, especially in the case of nice firm, round ones.

This inspires me to make a new version of my "Grand Tetons" wax-Preiser figure sculpture [which features little backpackers hiking up les grand tetons] only this time of the whole shebang (i.e. the hinterlands, the hintereingang, the hinterausgang, the cherry patch, the melon garden, and, of course, Uranus).